PETITIONS are in circulation around the borough calling for health chiefs to rethink their plans for a shake-up of services at Halton Hospital.
And councillors this week condemned plans by North Cheshire Hospitals Trust to transfer services to Warrington.
They claim the loss of services amounts to the 'death by 1,000 cuts' for Halton and will lead to the hospital being closed for good.
Petitions are available at many shops in Runcorn town centre and protesters can leave their signatures online at the Widnes Vikings messageboard.
The campaign comes a week after BMA chairman James Johnson called for Halton Hospital to split from Warrington. He said Halton has been 'asset-stripped' by North Cheshire Hospitals Trust in a bid to prop up cash-strapped Warrington General.
Staff at Halton Hospital are lobbying union chiefs. Many believe the transfer of services will lead to the loss of jobs as well as wards and will spell chaos for future heath provision in the borough.
One member of staff said: 'Warrington Hospital is an old building with nowhere to put any new wards or theatres.
'The transfer of all outpatients and day cases to Halton will lead to increased waiting lists simply because the rush hour gridlock intensifies to a standstill. Many patients will either be too late for their appointment or have to cancel - a total waste of patient and consultant time.'
Trust bosses propose concentrating emergency admissions at Warrington with Halton taking on more day case surgery and booked operations.
But Trust chief executive Ann Marr said: 'Halton General Hospital and its staff are a vital part of our plans.'
We must secure Halton's future, says MP
HALTON MP Derek Twigg is to demand a meeting with health bosses to discuss the proposed transfer of services from Halton Hospital.
Mr Twigg and Weaver Vale MP Mike Hall met hospital staff and BMA chairman and heart surgeon James Johnson at the hospital on Friday. Mr Johnson and the staff said they opposed the changes, particularly the transfer of all medical admissions to Warrington.
They also told the MPs they believed Halton should pull out of North Cheshire Hospitals Trust and seek an agreement with Whiston, St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals Trust.
Mr Twigg said: 'Our priority is to ensure the NHS provides both the best primary care and acute services to the people of Halton. We will be working very closely with hospital staff in pressing for the delivery of quality health provision at Halton. The staff and community must be fully involved in developing a solution which will bring about a secure and stable future for Halton Hospital.'